Work by Royalton Artist Casey Booth at Gifford Gallery

Royalton Artist Casey Booth

Image courtesy of the artist

Selected works by Royalton artist Casey Booth will be on display through September 7, 2016, in the Gifford Medical Center Art Gallery.

Born and raised in South Strafford VT, Booth began to draw in her adolescent years and is a self-taught artist. She has been cultivating skills and techniques over the years, working in oil, pastels, water colors, and fiber arts. Most recently she has focused on the alcohol inks she used in 21 pieces displayed in this exhibit.

“I am drawn to abstract styles and express emotions and feelings through my art, blending things that others see as a straight line,” she said. “I especially enjoy working with alcohol inks, which allow pigments to form and blend into a fluid scene. This produces a piece that is abstract as well as organic in nature.”

This exhibit is free and open to the public, and will be displayed through September 7, 2016. The gallery is located just inside the hospital’s main entrance at 44 S, Main St. (Route 12) in Randolph. Call Gifford at (802) 728-7000 for more information.

Family Nurse Practitioner Eva Linden Joins Gifford Primary Care

Eva LindenFamily nurse practitioner Eva Linden has joined Gifford’s primary care team and is now seeing families at the Bethel Health Center.

Linden grew up in Putney, VT and was drawn to helping people at an early age. She first realized she enjoyed medicine during a First Aid course required for lifeguarding at age thirteen. At eighteen she volunteered with the Emergency Medical Services at her college, and continued to do so with the local fire department after college.

After graduating from Ursinus College with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, she knew she wanted a career in medicine. For two years she worked as an ER Unit Coordinator at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and shadowed various medical providers to determine her next step. She considered emergency room and urgent care, but realized that she most wanted to provide outpatient family care in rural Vermont.

Linden returned to school and received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Nursing, with a specialty in Family Practice at Columbia University School of Nursing in NY. She is board-certified in family practice, and most recently worked providing women’s health services in Plattsburgh, NY.

“Family medicine offers variety and ongoing relationships with people,” she said. “Every patient is unique. I try to adapt treatment to each person’s situation in order to help them reach their health goals.”

After living in urban areas for several years, Linden and her fiancé, Ben Tietze, are excited about their new home in Randolph Center, which has lots of room for their puppy. When not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, and being outdoors.

In Bethel, Linden joins family primary care providers Terry Cantlin, DO and Mark Seymour, DO. The Bethel Health Center also offers gynecology and mental health services, as well as specialized diabetes care in a relaxing, patient-focused setting.

For more information, visit www.giffordmed.org or call 802-234-9913.

Employee Awards: Recognizing Long-Term Employees

This article was published in our 2015 Annual Report.

Gifford employee awards

Gifford’s care is special because of the people who work here.

Each year we hold an Employee Awards ceremony to recognize staff members for their dedication and years of service.

Last year the following individuals were honored at a banquet held at Vermont Technical College. (Employees are recognized for every five years of service.)

Congratulations, and thank you!

40 years
Kathryn Brooks
Susan Curtis

35 years
Daryl Donahue

30 years
Patricia Harrington
Cynthia Loomis
Sheila Miller

25 years
Dr. Terry Cantlin
Lisa Delegato
Diane Harrington
Susan Mascola
Dr. Mark Seymour

20 years
Ella Armstrong
Dawn Decoff
Christine Kresock
Michael Marshall
Barbara (Barbie) Salls

15 years
Ann Bridges
Janice Davis
W. James Floyd
Sherri Morgan
Marianne Slack
Linda Warner

10 years
Betina Barrett-Gallant
Kristen Bolio
Barbara Conant
Angela Currier
Tammi Ennis
Catherine Haraden
Melissa Herring
Cheryl Jewkes
Steven Morgan
Susan Peterson
Annette Petrucelli
Dr. Ellamarie Russo-DeMara
Tammy Schellong
Dr. Robin Schwartz
Dolores Smith
Edward Striebe
Kimberly Tenney
Carrie Wright
Michele Young
John Young

5 years
Kelly Boucher
Jennifer Celley
Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli
Janet Coffey
Heather Fortin
Erica Gillette
Doris Hunt
Melissa Kill
Connie Martin
Dr. Saul Nurok
Rebecca O’Berry
Donna O’Neill
Anne Pietryka
Megan Pike
Kathryn Rathmann
Marcelo Reyes
Kathryn Saunders
James Shodunke
Tammy Slack
Tracy Smith
Penny Upham
Joshua White

Beyond “Cookie-Cutter” Medicine: Keeping the Passion Alive

This article was published in our 2015 Annual Report.

beyond cookie cutter medicine

Drs. Jonathan Bjork and Robert Rinaldi

When podiatrist Rob Rinaldi first visited Gifford in 2003, he was struck by the energy and passion he encountered as he talked with staff.

“Everyone shared two ideals—to serve their patients in the best way they possibly could, and to make the hospital grow in good ways. Everyone wanted to make a contribution.”

Rinaldi says this first impression hasn’t changed over the years. The hospital has grown: clinics, buildings, and additional staff have been added and new technology brought in. He helped to create a new Sports Medicine program in 2005. Today, athletes come from all over the Upper Valley to the Sharon Health Center, which now has a physical therapy gym space, physical therapy treatment rooms, and a state-of-the-art gait analysis system.

“I’m amazed at how much has changed and happened, but the passion—the focus on the health and well-being of the people we serve—is still here,” he said. “We don’t treat patients with cookie-cutter medicine. People are not just numbers here.”

This focus on personalized care also brought Podiatrist Jonathan Bjork to Gifford last spring.

“I like to develop good, ongoing relationships with patients—not just performing surgery but also helping with rehabilitation, and treating patients in the clinics,” he said. “I saw I could do that here.”

Like Rinaldi years ago, Bjork was impressed by the open and supportive environment created by his colleagues.

“There’s no sense of hierarchy here,” he says. “People offer help and guidance, but it isn’t done with a critical eye.”

Rinaldi says that new providers at Gifford are nurtured by seasoned staff, many who have been at Gifford for years, and that this model transforms the traditional mentoring role.

“It’s unusual because the long-term providers all still have the passion they started with!” he says. “Now they are showing new providers—not how to be a better doctor necessarily, but about the rewards of personalized patient care and how this helps to keep the passion alive.”

Nurturing Connection: The Art Behind the Science

This article was published in our 2015 Annual Report.

Drs. Ovleto Ciccarelli and Nicolas Benoit

Drs. Ovleto Ciccarelli and Nicolas Benoit

Every surface was polished and shining and immaculately maintained: this is the detail that comes to mind when General Surgeon Dr. Ovleto Ciccarelli thinks back to his first visit to Gifford.

This small detail reflected a sense of connection and ownership that still impresses him today: staff members feel connected to the organization and take pride in their work.

“The people who work here take care of what’s theirs,” says Podiatrist Dr. Nicolas Benoit, who took over as Director of Surgical Services when Dr. Ciccarelli stepped down from the role in December.

Building relationships—to employees, to patients, to the people we serve—is key to Gifford’s success. They form a connecting thread that keeps us in touch with community concerns and needs, and has sustained us through a changing healthcare landscape for more than 100 years. People feel they are an important part of the organization and they want to help make it the best it can be.

“Gifford is very well-managed and has a concern for its employees some find unusual in the 21st century,” said Dr. Ciccarelli. “Every employee is in the same boat. You see this in our quarterly staff meetings, in how people are treated, and even in how we’ve weathered financial ups and downs: there’s never been a layoff. Everyone’s expected to not panic, to ride with it, and to pull a little harder.”

Over the years significant expansion and growth has been driven not by a business strategy, but in direct response to specific community needs (improvements to ensure access to quality local care or to fill needs like sports medicine or senior needs).

Doctors Ciccarelli and Benoit have witnessed major changes in their area in the last 10 years: the addition of a third operating room; a new ancillary services wing and patient-friendly surgical services floor; a systematized approach to wound care; and a radiology department transformed by the most modern technology and the expertise of two full-time radiologists. They say that the sense of an “employee team” has contributed to the organization’s growth over the years, bringing a resiliency and nimbleness that has allowed quick and thoughtful responses to internal and external change.

“I’m always impressed by how fast we can band together to get something accomplished here,” said Dr. Benoit. “People are willing to give the extra effort—if something seems impossible, we break it down in smaller steps to build it faster.”

The Art Behind the Science

Across the organization people are encouraged to collaborate and to help bring new colleagues up to speed when needed. As a surgeon in a small community hospital, Dr. Ciccarelli says peer support is especially important.

“The biggest challenge for a surgeon in rural health care is isolation,” he said. “Electronic media has made it easier to stay current, but most of surgery is an art, not a science: knowing what to do when is important, but how you do it and how much to do—this is where having peers becomes important.”

For Dr. Ciccarelli, nurturing relationships is especially important for recruiting a new generation of community health care providers—so many students are now encouraged to specialize or to take positions in larger hospitals, primarily because of student loan obligations. Both Leslie Osterman and Rebecca Savidge completed rotations with him as students, and both are now practicing at Gifford.

“Direct patient care is an honor and a privilege. Believe me, nothing beats being at a bedside with a patient!” he says. “We need to show young people how rewarding caring for patients can be.”

Gifford Begins Construction on Independent Living Apartments

Randolph Center community offers range of support for seniors aging locally

independent living apartments

L to R: Gifford VP of Finance Jeff Hebert, Neagley & Chase CEO Andrew Martin, Wiemann Lamphere VP Steven Roy, Gifford VP of Operations Rebecca O’Berry, Wiemann Lamphere Architect Heidi Davis, Gifford Facilities Director Doug Pfohl, Gifford Director of Marketing and Development Ashley Lincoln, Gifford Retirement Community Executive Director Linda Minsinger, Neagley& Chase, Project Manager Rob Higgins, Northfield Savings Bank VP Megan Cicio, Neagley& Chase Project Superintendent Peter Nelson

Community members, early depositors, and Gifford staff and board members gathered on July 12 to celebrate groundbreaking for 49 independent living apartments at the Morgan Orchards Senior Living Community in Randolph Center. Planning for the multi-phased project, the largest building project in Gifford’s history, began in 2010. The apartments are scheduled to open in late July/early August, 2017.

The 30-acre senior community includes the new Menig Nursing Home (opened May, 2015), the independent living units, and a planned assisted living facility—all on a 30-acre campus surrounded by orchards, berry patches, landscaped gardens, and trails for walking, biking, and snowshoeing. The independent living building includes 49 apartments (studio, one bedroom, one bedroom and den, two bedrooms) and community space for fitness, a woodworking shop, and artist and crafts areas.

Several depositors brought their own tools to toss the ceremonial shovel full of dirt onto meadowland that will soon surround their home. Gifford Facilities Director Doug Pfohl gave special thanks to the creative design team at Wiemann Lamphere Architects: David Roy, Heidi Davis, Michael Minadeo; and the Neagley Chase Construction Management Team, led by Andrew Martin, Rob Higgins, and Peter Nelson.

Gifford Retirement Community Executive Director Linda Minsinger thanked the early depositors for their sustaining support through a lengthy permitting process. “Thank you for being an early supporter, and for having faith in our project,” she said. “It takes courage to embark on a vision that you cannot see.”

Al Wilker and Vance Smith, among the earliest depositors, shared some thoughts about the project. Wilker said that the diversity of the local community, which includes teachers, professionals, business people, artists, and farmers, would ensure that people from all walks of life would be living there, and keeping things fun and interesting. “It’s growing, not growing old!” he said. “I look forward to learning something new every day.”

Smith encouraged the group to imagine a life free from the burdens of homeownership (mowing lawns, maintaining gardens, household repairs), and to think of new possibilities. She noted that each apartment plan is different, reflecting the design styles of early depositors. Even the breathtaking views surrounding the site offer variety: sunsets over the mountains to the west, and on the east views of a permaculture project blending wildlife, perennial, and vegetable gardens into a synergistic system that’s more than the sum of its parts. “We have the opportunity to build on and further the vision, to make this place what we want it to be,” she said. “That’s what this adventure is going to be, all of us making a greater whole!”

Gifford began offering health care specifically for seniors in 1993, when the state asked it to take over the Tranquility Nursing home in Randolph. Over the years it became clear that additional support was needed for seniors who wanted to remain in the community as they aged. Gifford has received many awards for the high-quality care offered at the hospital-run nursing home, and has expanded support for other senior needs: adult day care programs in Barre and Bethel, and the senior living community offering a continuum of senior care all on one campus in Randolph Center.

For more information about independent living at the Morgan Orchards Senior Living Community, visit http://www.giffordmed.org/IndependentLiving or call 802-728-7888.

The OR Team: Bringing compassion and respect to patient care

This article was published in our 2015 Annual Report.

Gifford OR team

Members of the OR Team (l to r): Ella Armstrong, Josh Redden, Morgan Nichols, Jeanelle Achee, Andrea Scott, Tammy Schellong, Jamie Floyd, Rebecca Johnson, Caitlyn Welch, Jason Lewis, Victoria Pulie, Kelsey Mancini.

“Patients feel very vulnerable when they are in the hospital for surgery,” said Surgery Nurse Manager Jamie Floyd. “We provide our patients with high quality surgical procedures, and our strong team approach allows us to give safe and compassionate care.”

Rochester Health Center Welcomes New Provider

This article was published in our Spring 2016 Update.

Dr. Erwin LangeDr. Erwin Lange, who has been seeing patients in Rochester since November, is settling in as this community’s primary care provider.

Office Manager Dawn Beriau and Registered Nurse Gail Proctor, who have worked at the clinic for more than 30 years, have spent the last few months introducing him to local families—many who have been receiving care at the Health Center for generations.

Lange is filling the position that opened up when Dr. Mark Jewett retired last spring, after nearly 40 years at the Health Center. Lange says he has really appreciated how the community has welcomed him.

“Rochester really is an amazing community. Sometimes people have stopped in just to introduce themselves and visit, and that has been great!”

Board-certified in family medicine, he brings years of experience in rural primary and emergency care. He received a BA from Dartmouth College, a MD from the Brown Alpert Medical School in Providence RI, and completed a three-year residency in family practice at the St. Joseph Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, NY.

Lange began his career as a family practitioner in a small, rural community in New York State, but then moved into practice as an emergency physician in several NH and Vermont hospitals. When he decided to return to family medicine he was looking for a community like Rochester, where he could care for a variety of conditions but also establish ongoing relationships with patients and their families.

Dr. Lange sees patients at the center from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and Physician Assistant Tammy Gerdes sees patients on Fridays.

Services include: annual physicals, blood work, sick visits, EKGs, chronic disease management, care coordination, and emergency procedures. To schedule an appointment, call 767-3704.

Gifford Opens Remodeled New Birthing Center

Experienced providers, compassionate staff,
many options for personalized birth

Soon after opening on June 23, Gifford’s Birthing Center staff welcomed three new babies and their families into a beautiful new remodeled space at the hospital.

New features include a large tub room with spa-like comforts for those choosing hydrotherapy or water births, and a fully-equipped modern nursery for infants needing extra care. Families like that they can remain in a single room during their stay and are not moved after their child’s birth.

Arlo Jackson Wonder and Wren Ila Wonder with parents Willow Wonder and Eric Clifford and big sister Shyloh

Arlo Jackson Wonder and Wren Ila Wonder with parents Willow Wonder and Eric Clifford and big sister Shyloh

Twins Arlo Jackson Wonder and Wren Ila Wonder actually arrived on June 21, but stayed with parents Willow Wonder and Eric Clifford and big sister Shyloh in a spacious new room after they were born—one by caesarean section. Small details like dimmable lights, quilts, a rocker, and additional sleeping space right in the room made their first days together as a family more relaxed and special.

Willow Wonder’s first child was born at home and she did not want a hospital birth for her twins. She and her husband Eric Clifford came to Gifford when it became clear that she would need to induce labor. As the birth progressed, the birthing center nurses helped her with a series of unplanned choices: an epidural provided relief from the exhaustion of a long labor, and when only one of the twins could be delivered vaginally, she had an emergency C-section for the second birth. Pediatrician Dr. Lou DiNicola immediately cared for the stressed infant.

“At the last minute I realized Dr DiNicola had been my own pediatrician!” said proud father Eric Clifford, of Barre Town. “We were so well taken care of. We had not planned on a hospital birth, to induce labor, to have an epidural or a C-section—we really got the hospital at its A-game.”

Makayla Carol Peyton with her parents Melissa Clements and Jeremy Peyton

Makayla Carol Peyton with her parents Melissa Clements and Jeremy Peyton

Makayla Carol Peyton was the first baby born in the new space, arriving on June 26. Her parents Melissa Clements and Jeremy Peyton of Barre said they stayed closely connected with their midwife and loved that the atmosphere was so supportive and personal.

Gifford was the first hospital in Vermont to support individual preferences and childbirth outside of the traditional delivery room. Today women have the best of both worlds at Gifford: our certified nurse midwives and experienced Birthing Center nurses provide compassionate support for low-intervention births. But since each mother’s experience is different, other options are available as birth unfolds, including epidurals and the 24/7 back-up support of three ob/gyn physicians.

For more information about Gifford’s Birthing Center, call 802-728-2257 or visit http://www.giffordmed.org/BirthingCenter.

Gifford Campaign Celebrates a Vision Made Real

New nursing home, private inpatient rooms, updated Birthing Center now open

Campaign CommitteeMore than 125 supporters and friends gathered at the Gifford Medical Center in Randolph on June 28 to celebrate the closing of Vision for the Future, the largest capital campaign in Gifford’s 113-year history.

“In planning our campaign we believed that every gift was important, large or modest, and that the willingness to give to support others in the community was significant,” campaign co-chair Lincoln Clark told the crowd. “We have raised $4,685,548. Our largest gift of one million dollars came from the Gifford Medical Auxiliary, which laid the foundation for a successful campaign and the hundreds of gifts that followed.”

The Auxiliary gift was especially impressive since the funds were raised primarily through small-dollar sales of “re-purposed” items at their volunteer-run Thrift Shop. The campaign’s success reflects a tremendous outpouring of community support for Gifford: more than half of the donors gave gifts under $250.

Silently launched in 2013, the campaign went public in the spring of 2014 to raise funds for an ambitious three-phased project:

  • Building a new Menig Nursing Home to anchor the Morgan Orchards Senior Living Community in Randolph Center
  • Renovating the vacated Menig space at the hospital into industry-standard private patient rooms
  • Creating a new updated and centrally located Birthing Center, with upgrades, spacious rooms, and a calming décor

Strategic planning had identified these areas as facility improvements that would ensure that Gifford could continue to provide the best possible healthcare— from newborns through old age—locally for generations to come. Each phase was carefully planned and met a specific budget and timeline: the new Menig opened in May of 2015, 25 private patient rooms opened in December 2015, and the new Birthing Center opened on June 22, 2016.

“When it was clear that the Birthing Center renovation—the final phase of the project — would open in mid-June, our campaign committee decided to celebrate the end of our campaign at the same time,” said Ashley Lincoln, Director of Development. “Our festive event celebrated the close of an especially rewarding year. As each phase was completed, campaign contributors could see firsthand the impact their gifts have had on the lives of their neighbors and friends”.

She noted that the campaign could not have succeeded without the hard work and unfailing commitment of the Campaign Steering Committee, who volunteered their time and energy: Lincoln Clark and Dr. Lou DiNicola (campaign co-chairs),Carol Bushey, Linda Chugkowski, Lyndell Davis, Paul Kendall, Karen Korrow, Sandy Levesque, Barbara Rochat, and Sue Systma.

For more information about Gifford’s Vision for the Future campaign, call Ashley Lincoln at 728-2380, or visit http://www.giffordmed.org/VisionfortheFuture.